Interpreting Future Buddha of this World – Maitreya Buddha
Maitreya is also known as Metteyya who is presented as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, Maitreya is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma.
According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism in the world. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature. All of the Buddhist sects and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an actual event that will take place in the distant future.
Table of Contents
- 1 - The Life of Maitreya Buddha
- 2 - Iconography of the Maitreya Buddha
- 3 - The activity of Maitreya
- 4 - Maitreya’s origin
- 5 - Non-Buddhist views of Maitreya Buddha
The Life of Maitreya Buddha
In this portion, we are going to learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha, after that, the short etymological description of the word Maitreya buddha itself, and finally, we will learn about the Maitreya buddha as a trance Sadhana teacher.
Etymology of Maitreya Buddha
Teacher of Trance Sadhana – Maitreya Buddha
First one mention of the prophecy of Maitreya is prophesied in the Sanskrit text, the Maiteyavyakarana stating that gods, men, and other beings will worship Maitreya. It implies that he is a teacher of trance sadhana. They will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, and theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya’s guidance.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha. Now, we are going to learn about the iconography of the Maitreya buddha.
Iconography of the Maitreya Buddha
Posture of Maitreya buddha
Maitreya is typically known as pictured seated, with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time. Maitreya is dressed in the clothes of either a Bhiksu or Indian royalty. As a bodhisattva, Maitreya would usually be standing and dressed in jewels.
Usually, Maitreya wears a small stupa in his headdress which represents the stupa of the Buddha Sakyamuni’s relics to help him identify it when his turn comes to lay claim to his succession, and can be holding a Dharmachakra resting on a lotus. A Khata is always tied around his waist as a girdle. He is flanked by his two acolytes, the brothers Asanga and Vasubandhu.
The future Buddha Maitreya is also known as Gandhara in the 3rd century CE. Maitreya currently resides in the Tuṣita Heaven said to be reachable through meditation. Sakyamuni Buddha also lived here before he was born into the world as all bodhisattvas live in the Tuṣita Heaven before they descend to the human realm to become Buddhas.
Although all bodhisattvas are destined to become Buddhas, the concept of a bodhisattva differs slightly in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. In Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who is only destined to one day become a Buddha, whereas in Mahayana Buddhism. The bodhisattva is one who has already reached a very advanced state of grace or enlightenment but holds back from entering nirvana so that he may help others.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha and the iconography of the Maitreya buddha. Now, we are going to learn about the activities of Maitreya Buddha.
The activity of Maitreya
In this portion, we are going to learn about the activity of Maitreya Buddha, after the Maitreya buddha in the current age, and finally, Future coming to Maitreya Buddha.
Activity of Maitreya in the Current Age
In Mahayana schools, Maitreya is traditionally said to have revealed the Five Treatises of Maitreya through Asanga. These important texts are the basis of the Yogachara tradition and constitute the majority of the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.
Future coming of Maitreya
In the coming days Maitreya’s will occur after the teachings of the current Gautama Buddha, the Dharma, are no longer taught and are completely forgotten. Maitreya is predicted to attain Bodhi in seven days by virtue of his many lives of preparation for Buddha-hood. He is characterized by a number of physical events.
The oceans are predicted to decrease in size, allowing Maitreya to traverse them freely. The event will also allow the unveiling of the true dharma to the people, in turn, allowing the construction of a new world. The coming also signifies the end of the middle time in which humans currently reside.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha, the iconography of the Maitreya Buddha, and the activities of Maitreya Buddha. Now, we are going to learn about Maitreya’s origin.
In this portion, we are going to learn about Maitreya’s Origin.
The name Maitreya or Metteyya is derived from the word Maitri or Metta which means loving-kindness, which is in turn derived from the noun Mitra in the sense of friend. The earliest mention of Metteyya is in the Cakavatti Sutta in the Digha Nikaya 26 of the Pali Canon. Maitreya occurs in no other sutta, and this casts doubt as to the sutta’s authenticity.
Most of the Buddha’s sermons are also presented as preached in answer to a question, or in some other appropriate context, but this one has a beginning and an ending in which the Buddha is talking to monks about something totally different. This leads Gombrich to conclude that either whole sutta is apocryphal, or it has at least been tampered with. Maitreya is sometimes represented seated on a throne Western-style and venerated both in Mahayana and in-Mahayana Buddhism.
Some have speculated that inspiration for Maitreya may have come from the ancient Indo-Iranian deity Mithra. The primary comparison between the two characters appears to be the similarity of their names. According to a book entitled The Religion of the Iranian Peoples, “No one who has studied the Zoroastrian doctrine of the Saoshyants or the coming savior-prophets can fail to see their resemblance to the future Maitreya.
Possible objections are that these characteristics are not unique to Zoroastrianism, nor are they necessarily characteristic of the belief in Maitreya. It is also possible that Maitreya Buddha originated with the Hindu Kalki. Its similarities with the Iranian Mithra have to do with their common Indo-Iranian origin.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha, the iconography of the Maitreya Buddha, the activities of Maitreya Buddha, and Maitreya’s origin. Now, we are going to learn about the non-Buddhist view of Maitreya Buddha.
Non-Buddhist views of Maitreya Buddha
In this part, we will learn about the non-buddhist view of Maitreya Buddha.
Since the growth of the theosophist movement in the 19th century, non-Buddhist religious and spiritual movements have adopted the name and selected characteristics of Maitreya. For teachers in their traditions Share International, which equates Maitreya with the prophesied figures of multiple religious traditions, claims. he has already present in the world but is preparing to make an open declaration of his presence in the near future.
They claim that he is here to inspire mankind to create a new era based on sharing and justice. Since the beginning of the 1930s, the Ascended Master Teachings have placed Maitreya in the Office of World Teacher until 1956. When he was described as moving on to the Office of Planetary Buddha and Cosmic Christ in their concept of a Spiritual Hierarchy.
Some Muslim scholars who studied Buddhist texts believe that Maitreya is “Rahmatu Lil-Alamein”, which is the name for the prophet Muhammad as it is said in the Quran. According to the research on the book, Antim Buddha Maitreya scholars have summarized that Maitreya Buddha is Muhammad. After examining the Buddhist texts researchers concluded that Muhammad had been the last and final awakened Buddha to come into existence long after the current teachings.
In the 19th Century religious reformer, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is believed in by the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as fulfilling expectations regarding the Maitreya Buddha. Bahá’ís believe that Bahaullah is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the appearance of Maitreya. Baha believes that the prophecy that Maitreya will usher in a new society of tolerance and love has been fulfilled by Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on world peace.
This view has been of some effect, for example in Vietnam Bahauuiiah was identified with the Maitreya. Before the Communist government, the Bahai Faith grew in part with the conversion of a number of Buddhist monks. The Bahai Faith has recently been able to re-register as a religion and there are some signs of large scale growth from the ’50s-’60s resuming.
Earlier, we learn about the life of Maitreya Buddha, the iconography of the Maitreya Buddha, the activities of Maitreya Buddha, and Maitreya’s origin. And Finally, we learn about the non-Buddhist view of Maitreya Buddha.